My Panchakarma Life in Rishikesh

Yay! I am starting to feel much more energized…I think the benefits of this panachakarma therapy is starting to kick in. Therefore I want to seize my new found energy to write about my typical day here in Rishikesh…here goes:

While planning this trip to India, I consulted my Japanese girlfriend’s Indian husband, Das, to help me with the itinerary.  “India is so big!” I told him, ” I don’t know where to start.” He recommended that I come to Rishikesh and then Rajastan. The weather would be cooler than in the south, I could learn yoga or ayurveda in Rishikesh, and then visit Jaipur and Udaipur in India’s largest and most romantic state, Rajastan. Perfect!

Along with his recommendations he included links to several ashrams and ayurvedic centers in Rishikesh.  After much toiling over where I would prefer to spend a week of my life, I decided on Dr. Maurya’s Hemadri Ayurveda Centre (next to the police checkpoint and taxi stand here on Badri Nath Road). With a $100 Western Union wire, my reservation for 7 days of Panchakarma therapy was set. Et voila! Now here I am experiencing it!

As with all things here in India, I learned that I should have negotiated the online price of the therapy beforehand, but, whatever… I will do a better job negotiating my next rickshaw instead.

My chariot in Delhi that brought me to Rishikesh.

These buses are simply called “Volvos” and are a very pleasant, economical way to travel. The bus driver gave me seat 1 so I could be petrified the entire way as he maneuvered the crowded streets. He was sounding his horn more than he wasn’t.

We stopped at a McDonald’s along the way.  Here a  Big Mac is made with a veggie burger instead 🙂 (don’t even talk about eating beef here!).

Leaving Delhi.

The chickens stacked on rickshaws fascinated me…

Rishikesh at last! and traveling in style again!

Rishikesh is in the the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is located in the foothills of the Himalayas and is known as The Gateway to the Himalayas.

Its population is 75,000.

Vishal, the owner of the hotel/restau where I am staying, says that in Rishikesh “anything can happen” and it is “magical.” He also said that only the “pure” die here. He added, “Bubas  (politicians/beaurocrats) can be born and live here, but they always die someplace else.”

Dr. Maury’s Ayurvedic Center

Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine and the world’s oldest system of healthcare.  It has been practiced in India for 5000 years! The word Ayurveda means “science of life.”  It is a very serious and true medical practice here in India.  My doctor, Dr. Maurya, has practiced Ayerveda for the last 8 years.  He also teaches it.

My first morning here I met my doctor at 8am.  He took my pulse, asked me about my health and then proceeded to set up my treatment schedule. My panchakarma, an Ayurveda way of detoxifying and rejuvenating the body, treatment includes a strict vegetarian diet, daily massages, steam baths, different body cleansings, yoga, and rest (although rest does not mean read a book…it means rest your mind.  Vishal alerted me, “Don’t read. Westerners read too much during panchakarma.” I immediately put my Kindle under the table).

The Wonderful Staff at the Center

Suma, my yoga instructor and office manager, sits behind the desk.  Maya, one of the other therapists at the center is next to her and Savita, my therapist, sits closest to the door.

My temporary home away from home – Ayur Pak

Ayur Pak is not only a hotel, but one of Rishikesh’s best restaurants. It is also where the doctor has prescribed me to eat all 3 of my vegetarian meals a day!

The cheerful owner, Vishal, and his more cheerful wife prepare traditional food based on Ayurvedic practices.  Everything is fresh.  Everything is made to order.  Everything is delicious. They ground all their herbs and spices on the premise and use only “ghee” (clarified butter) to cook with.  They say that not only is their food healthy, but it will help you live longer.  Another Chapati please! 🙂

My room – no wifi, but no bugs either!

I do a lot of resting of my mind on that bed.

Beautiful, eh!?

There is hot water…but spotty output.

Somehow I still linger during my showers…incredible.

View from my room of the Himalayan foothills.

Better than the view into the bathroom.

The outside dining area in Ayur Pak…where I eat dinner, but not breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast – 8:30am every morning

This is one of my typical breakfasts, dal grain with sliced apples and pomegranate seeds. I always have tea too. Doctor’s orders.

In the background, Vishal is making a pooja, or offering, for the god, Ganesha.  

Every morning and lunch, I find him threading a string of small white flowers interspersed with larger yellow ones.  The small white flowers only blossom 15 -20 days a year, and are a favorite of Ganesha’s…hence the daily diligence.

Pooja flowers

Ganesha with her new garnish!

Therapy Room – my 10am destination

My therapy usually lasts about 2 hours.  After stripping down to nothing, Savita starts on me with some sort of massage – hot sesame seed oil made in house, cream, or, today’s massage, hot milk with a rice scrub (done by Savita and Maya!). Sometimes afterwards I receive special treatments like Shirodhara (oil on my third eye) or, a favorite from the last 2 days, colon cleansing (it involved hot oil and a syringe :(…so please note sarcasm ). Treatment always ends with a steam bath.

The big box in the picture is where I receive the steam bath.  Just my head sticks out as steam is pumped into the box.  Although I am not locked in the box, I do feel a bit vulnerable.  Today there were baby cockroaches that kept running up and down the box! Egads!  I had Savita stay with me to swat them away…tough to relax when you are imagining bugs creeping onto your face :). 

Lunch – 1pm

After rest and shower, back to eating! Lunch usually is khicheri – rice and another grain called, dal – cooked vegetables and chapati. During panchakarma, all my food is cooked as it is easier to digest.

Vishal always chuckles at my picture taking.

Yoga with Suma – 4pm

Ooooommmmmmmm 🙂

Suma is teaching me basic Yoga asnas (positions). Class consists of  just me…but sometimes it also includes her 4 year old son or one of the therapists :).

I love her class. Look how sublime she looks while doing asna….*sigh*

I find I am most elegant at the “dead man” asna – which is just laying on your back relaxed.  Clearly I won’t be a yogi anytime soon.

Today in class we learned an asna that she said would help with “your side fat.” I diligently took mental notes.

Back for Dinner at 7pm…but only after rest (no reading!).

This is my typical dinner….soup -pumpkin or dal/veggie, vegetables and chapati.  I am on night 5 of it…and yes, even though it is good,  it is getting a little old…

Sometimes between meals, rest, massages and yoga I even take little “adventure” excursions.

Dr. Maury is next to me.  He brought me and 5 of his Ayurveda students from Brazil to see the Neelkanth Temple (temple to Lord Shiva) up in the foothills.

My petite pooja to Lord Shiva.

It contained all the things he liked – holy water from the Ganga, leaves, honey and sugar he liked to eat, incense and a hibiscus.

Shiva’s mode of transport – the cow.

We poured water from the Ganga on him and offered some of the leaves.

Devotees whispered wishes or words of gratitude in his ears.

Neelkanth Temple

Before entering, Dr. Maurya warned us that “Indian temples are rather dirty.”

Trash did abound…but it was wonderful to witness such a sacred place in a scenic part of the world.

Tera Manzil Temple – the largest temple in Rishikesh

Although the beginning of my panchakarma was a bit rough – which I attribute to my body shedding toxins – I feel like I am benefiting from this experience.  I am happy with how Iam starting to feel inside and look outside – pure, clean and healthy. I also appreciate how my time here has helped me understand more about the lives of the Indian community that surrounds me. Today I learned my therapist, Savita, has been a widow since the age of 19 (she is 34 today).  She was left with 3 small children…one was only one month old. She will never marry again.  She said, “India, one marriage.”

I don’t know what from this week I will take home and continue…I think time will show that to me. But what I find charming, is how everyone tells me about the possibilities for my next visit…or “when I come back.”  Maybe that is in the cards…but right now I am  just enjoying this and them now. AND I am starting to feel truly rejuvenated too…

….although I do crave a Diet coke.

Namaste!

  34 comments for “My Panchakarma Life in Rishikesh

  1. Wavatar
    jose matos
    December 3, 2012 at 2:38 am

    Hi Jenjedda

    I and my wife Mariana loved your experience about the ayurvedic treatment and food and stay at Ayur Park .
    We live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and want informations about how to contact Vishal – Skype or mail

    Thank you

    Jose

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      December 3, 2012 at 3:27 am

      Hi Jose and Mariana!

      I LOVE that you enjoyed my story about my stay a Ayur Park and my panchakarma treamtment. If you are going to Rishikesh, Ayur Park is definitely a warm, welcoming and memorable place to stay…and the food is outstanding. Truly. Right now I have a phone # for Vishal (+91) 9897296399 However, I have a friend who lives in Rishikesh currently. I will write here to see if I can get an email or skype id for you! I will give you an update shortly!

      Hugs – Jen

    • Wavatar
      ATUL JAIN
      May 3, 2016 at 7:36 am

      Hi Jose,
      You can search hemadri Ayurveda centre in Rishikesh on Google or else when you want to come India then contact me I will arrange all.
      My email: atuljainkc@gmail.com, mob:+919871763057

  2. Wavatar
    sharad singh
    January 3, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Rishikesh is the beautiful place to visit..Rishikesh is a city in India.The word RISHIKESH is originated from two sanskrit word RISHI + KESH Rishi means a saint and kesh mens hair.Every year peoples from across the world visit rishikesh to find the meaning of their life, with the help of YOGA,Rishikesh is also known as The world capital of YOGA,,,,,its a beautiful place,,,visit again,,,,

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      January 5, 2013 at 6:50 am

      Sharad! Thanks for finding my blog…and for the great info on Rishikesh! I do hope to go again soon…doing Yoga there was amazing to me, and everyone was so nice and welcoming. I am lucky to have gone. Are you from there?

      • Wavatar
        sharad singh
        January 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm

        Hi!!!! Yeeehh i m from rishikesh,,, when ever u visit here again,,,,u r most welcome,,,,,namaste,,,,

  3. Wavatar
    April 24, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Hi Jen!

    I just found your blog while researching panchakarma in Rishikesh. Thank you for sharing your experiences, they truly are helpful and inspirational! I am planning a trip to India to get my 500-hr yoga teacher certification and would like to have panchakarma before I start my program. This has been a dream trip of mine for many years and I finally feel that it is time for me to go. Although I have travelled by myself to Europe (college years), I still feel a little apprehensive about going to India alone. I mainly fear not knowing what to do/say to get to where I need to get to. I was wondering what you did/do to prepare for a trip as I see you are well-travelled.

    I am genuinely open-minded, highly intuitive and like to educate myself on all things (a true type-A) but I think I’m just looking for that extra push/encouragement from one woman traveller to another. Any insight would help. Thank you in advance!

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      April 26, 2013 at 7:18 am

      Hi Jenilyn! I am tickled you found my blog…and I am glad you found pieces of it helpful too. Rishikesh was a wonderful place and I like to think I will go back for another treatment someday (they said next time I should do it for 21 days…that seems excessive to me :)!). I would love to give you that small push you need…you sound like you might be a bit like me and since I traveled there alone, I know with your preparedness, openness, determination and flexibility you will have an experience of a lifetime. Yoga along the Ganga is the stuff of dreams, ya know!!! I will send you an email with my phone #. Feel free to call me if you have specific questions and I can give you some “must dos” that I picked up along the way (i.e. drivers in the big cities I found mandatory as a single woman traveler…and they aren’t expensive). Thank you so, so much for your nice note…touching people that I have never met through this medium makes it one of the best things I have ever done :). Hugs!

      • Wavatar
        May 2, 2013 at 10:54 pm

        Thank you for your openness to share your India experience with me! I just received your information and I will be sure to use you as a source of logic as well as inspiration in planning my upcoming trip. Namaste!

  4. Wavatar
    Liberty
    May 14, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Hi Jen – I am so happy to have found your blog! I was searching for a place to do a Panchakarma in Northern India… what a wonderfully descriptive blog post. I am tempted to replicate your experience entirely, sans the cockroaches! I am wondering if you would recommend it wholeheartedly? I kind of like the idea that it was such an intimate experience within the Indian culture… some ashrams seem like they are made for expats and while they look lovely, I am going to India for the first time and really would like to get a sense of the people and the culture. Also, can give me a sense of how much you spent? How many days did you do. I was thinking 7 – 14, the idea of quiet time without books for 14 days is a bit intimidating.
    Thank you for any advice you can give me!
    Btw – I used to live in Seattle & had a store in Kirkland for many years!

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      May 14, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Hi Liberty! Thanks for your great little note! I would absolutely recommend it, and Rishikesh is truly a jewel of a town. I had never been to India either and did this treatment in this city as my introduction to the culture and people. I think I made the right choice and would absolutely recreate my one month itinerary in India again if I had to visit it again as a first timer :). I liked getting to know the land, people and the values they hold dear in a smaller (relative in India!), quieter and more removed setting. And the way I felt after my treatment does make me want to do it again….

      So fun that you use to live in Seattle! Where are you now? I will shoot you an email with my phone # as an alternative to answer your questions. I am so excited for your trip! J

  5. Wavatar
    August 13, 2013 at 6:01 am

    Hey, thanks for the post, I actually didn’t know more about rishikesh. Got some new information.

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      August 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Glad you found it helpful. Looks like you have your own Ayurvedic practice too!

  6. Wavatar
    alex parisel
    August 26, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Hi Jenjedda
    namaste

    good to read your writings about this panchakarma , it is interesting and undoubtedly the ayur park is a good place to eat , but some how i manages to visit an another center named as Vedangas , to have my panchakarma, and let me tell you this center and guys over there are unbelievable , they had such a beautiful spa and panchkarma center, .made up of bamboos and canes and very natural environment, and doctor Ashwimini is very experienced and helpful doctor and all the therapist over there are very friendly , i got this treatment from a girl named as manisha she had a such good hand , the rooms very nice and tidy , with modern steam bath and showers , and i had such a wonderful 7 days with them , it was almost like rebirth for me , i can never forget this experience , this center is really worth to visit and had a panchakarma with them

  7. Wavatar
    paula
    September 1, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Hola!! me encanto tu blog, voy a india en Marzo y me encanto el ashram, cuanto te salio diario? Como lo puedo reservar?? Muchas gracias!!

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      September 10, 2013 at 12:26 am

      Hola, paula!! Yo estoy encantada que tu encontré mi blog :). Yo voy a ir a Costa Rica en Octubre, entonces yo debo practicar mi español. Lo siento por todos los errores :). Estoy emocionada que tu vas ir a India! Es un país increíble (y caótico)!! Mi programa de Panchakarma costo $500 por una semana (con comida, hotel, yoga, tratamiento, excursiones, etc)…fue un “package” precio. Tal vez tu puedes encontrar una programa mas barata…pero yo pienso que los ashrams solamente aceptan las “donaciones”…no hay un precio “fixed”. Tu vas a Rishikesh o un otra lugar?

  8. Wavatar
    January 29, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Nice and very informative blog. Here am introducing Ayurveda Panchakarma one of the best treatment in Ayurveda Kerala and Kerala Ayurveda to know more nilayoram.com

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      January 29, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks Ann!

  9. Wavatar
    frankin
    December 16, 2014 at 7:07 am

    I was looking for a place to stay in rikikesh and where to be able to have a panchakarma and i found your blog, i found it well done with good pictures, thanks for it.
    I will go there in a few days, it s not my first time in india, but my first panchakarmq, i was hesitating to go rather in kerala to do it, but finally i chose rikikesh. ?..
    Thanks again for your beautiful blog

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      December 16, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      Dear Frankin! Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! It made my day…and please, please let me know about your experience once you get home. I would love to know about your time in Rishikesh! Namaste! Enjoy!

  10. Wavatar
    Anni Kawalski
    September 20, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Hi Jen! I came across your blog as I was looking for personal experiences of panchakarma. I really enjoyed reading it and seeing your pictures! I am heading to India for the first time in October and I have just enough time for a 7 day panchakarma treatment. Unfortunately, I won’t be in Rishikesh; otherwise I would look further into the one you went to. I am looking into various places in Kerala, where I am doing my 200 hour yoga teacher training. I’m undecided though…in addition to the yoga training, I am doing a 10 day vipassana retreat. If you have any thoughts as to whether it’s possible to “overdose” on too many spiritual pursuits in 2 months, I would love to hear them. Thank you!
    Annie

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      September 22, 2015 at 1:58 am

      Hi Annie! Sounds like you have a wonderful trip coming up! I don’t know if you can overdose :), but as a traveler who likes to make sure I have time for my own pursuits, ad hoc diversions or tips I learn about along the way, my advice would be just make sure you make time just to your own thing. I also think that you can see how your are feeling while you are there and then make the decision. One thing I learned about by my reservation at the panchakarma center was that I really didn’t need it :). In fact I could have negotiated a better price (which was typical I learned) if I just showed up. Since you already have 2 pursuits planned…feel free to play the 3rd by ear! Who knows what magic may happen once you get there that may have you deciding to do something completely different! Thanks so much for finding my blog! Let me know how the trip goes!! xoxo

  11. Wavatar
    Eva
    October 23, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    hello, your blog was very interesting, as i’m searching panchakarma place in Rishikesh as well.
    you mentioned ‘should have negotiated online price beforehand’ . what do you suggest a decent price would be for the 7 day package without the adventure things, just panchakarma treatments?
    thanks and kind regards

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      October 23, 2015 at 5:28 pm

      Namaste Eva :)! Thanks for finding my blog! I don’t know if I could tell you what would have been a better price, I just know that had I gone to the center versus booked it online I could have saved money. The program I purchased was very reasonable from my perspective, but having been there and watching other tourists walk in and get a better price through some negotiations made me realize I should have done the same. Maybe I could have taken $50 off or $100…I really don’t know. I suggest offering a price you think is fair and go from there!

  12. Wavatar
    January 20, 2016 at 6:40 am

    Hi,your blog is nice,i truly prefer to have panchakarma treatment..Ayurveda is best solution for all kind of problems i believe
    If you want to know some more about panchakarma you can visit the link below-
    http://www.arthworld.com

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      January 22, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Thanks! Your link looks interesting too! J

      • Wavatar
        Jenny
        August 10, 2016 at 2:22 pm

        Hi! Thanks for sharing your experience. I was looking at doing 14 days pamchakarma at hemadri. Would u recommend it. They mentioned a package with stay at an ashram. U heard about others experience when u were there. Also how many people are there at one go?

        • Wavatar
          jenjedda
          August 12, 2016 at 2:11 am

          Hi Jenny! I believe I was the only one doing the panchakarma for 7 days (or any days) while I was there…which I thought was fine as I enjoyed the individual yoga class and met people at dinner and such. Like I note in the blog, I think you can get a better price than what you may see online. Everything was pretty rustic….which, again, I didn’t mind, just made me wish I would have negotiated a bit. Overall, I enjoyed my experience…but I don’t have anything to compare it to. Lots of people did do the Ashram experience there at Rishikesh..and it looks like there were bigger groups doing that (if that is important to you). I will never forget how I felt after the 7 days of the experience…like a light radiated from me…it was so cool.

  13. Wavatar
    Kai
    September 15, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Jen, thank you so much for your post. I am heading to India in 2 weeks and looking to do panchakarma in Rishikesh. Would love to connect with you if possible? Thanks so much!

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      September 15, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Lucky you, Kai! Would love to connect! Feel free to email me at jen@jjcaprices.com :).

  14. Wavatar
    Joseph Johnson
    March 13, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Hi Jen, thanks for your post about panchakarma and its benefits. There are lot of people still need to get more about Ayurveda and Panchakarma. Hope this post reach to more people and people looking for panchakarma treatment may contact this genuine treatment center in rishikesh.

  15. Wavatar
    July 23, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Hi, Jen. Thank you so much for sharing your panchakarma experience. I’m planning a trip to India and I’m thinking about doing a panchakarma. How did you book the Ayur Pak? Why did you choose to stay there instead of staying at Hemadri’s? Did you feel safe to walk around by yourself i n Rishikesh? I’ve traveled alone but this would be my first in Asia. Thank you again.
    Talita

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      July 24, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks so much, Talita, for writing and finding my blog! I did feel safe in Rishikesh…everyone was lovely (granted I made sure I didn’t walk alone at night). You will love the experience if you do it too!

  16. Wavatar
    July 24, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Hi jen, thanks to telling the benefits of ayurveda and pachakarma. Yes india is really good in ayurveda and ayurveda is really beneficial for your health with no side effect.
    we also having ayurveda centres in pune visit us once http://www.keralaayurvedpune.com/

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